Sunday, September 9, 2007


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 9,2007) - The Bosnian Minister Of Justice Bariša Čolak has strongly criticized Serbia’s War Crimes Chamber.Čolak said it was unacceptable and illegal that a Serbian court dispatched subpoenas to Bosnian citizens directly, calling for their testimonies in the case of a Bosnian citizen Ilija Jurišić.

Ilija Jurišić is a Bosnian patriot who participated in defending the Bosnian city of Tuzla from the Serbian aggressor,during the 1992-1995 Serbian aggresion against Bosnia.Jurišić has been arrested by the Serbian aggressor and has been in a prison in Belgrade since 11 May 2007.

Čolak announced he would send a letter of protest and warning to the Serbian Foreign Ministry, pointing to a direct violation of not only the interstate agreement between Bosnia and Serbia on providing legal assistance, but the European convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters as well.

“My letter will not seek to bring tensions to our relations. Quite the contrary, our goal is to make our relations better, but for that to happen, similar incidents cannot be repeated,” he told Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz.

According to Čolak, the agreement and the convention compelled the Serbian side to collaborate with Bosnian Ministry Of Justice.

The Convention stipulates that subpoenas should be forwarded to a competent court in the other country that will arrange their delivery.

“It is forbidden (to Serbia) to directly summon witnesses (in Bosnia). The subpoenas from Serbia contained sanctions in the event of a witness refusing to comply and take the stand, which could not have happened, even though these sanctions have no legal bearing in Bosnia,” Colak explained.

Asked how the judiciary in Serbia obtained the addresses of Bosnian citizens listed as witnesses, Čolak replied that apart from speculation, he could not give a concrete answer, leaving the issue to Bosnia’s security and judicial systems.

This case is also known as "the Tuzla Column".The Serbian aggressor, with the active participation of Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) forces, seized about 70 per cent of Bosnia in the first few weeks of the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia.JNA was totally controlled by Serbia and the role of the JNA in the early stages of the war was very important.

In May 1992,the JNA troops came under attack by the Bosnian Army as they were withdrawing from the Bosnian city of Tuzla and up to 200 JNA soldiers were reportedly killed and 140 JNA soldiers were taken prisoners by the Bosnian Army.

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